Toronto and East York Community Planning Section
After graduating from St. Mary’s University in 1997, Kirk moved to Toronto in 1999 and began a career with the City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration. Over the next 11 years, Kirk worked in various roles within the division, advocating for marginalized individual’s equitable access to housing, health, and social services.
In 2010, Kirk entered the Planning stream of the MES. While continuing his work in advocacy and harm reduction, he studied planning and social equity, focusing on issues of housing provision, social inclusion, gentrification and displacement. Kirk’s major research project examined public housing redevelopment, and the lack of senior level government participation in public housing affairs, forcing the city to rely on private investment to make capital repairs. His final paper, which has been awarded entry into the MES 2012 Outstanding Paper Series, examined the revitalization of Toronto’s Alexandra Park. Kirk’s paper, and other outstanding works of MES scholarship, can be seen at: http://fes.yorku.ca/research/students/outstanding
During his time in MES, Kirk and his wife Kyesia welcomed their third child. Kirk says he owes “a huge thanks to the faculty and staff of FES, who were quite sympathetic to my situation and supportive of my goals, encouraging me to continue what I had set out to finish.” The challenges of balancing work, grad school, and a new baby have recently paid off for Kirk. On October 16th, he started a new job in the Planning Department at city hall as an Assistant Planner with the Toronto and East York Community Planning Section. Kirk will be assisting the review of development applications and various studies in the West Downtown.
Kirk still keeps in contact with MES students, faculty, and staff. “MES,” he says, “was a wonderful learning experience that has both provided a means to an end, and prepared me to look at Planning from a holistic and inclusive perspective.”